California coffeeberry is a friendly evergreen shrub in the buckthorn (Rhamnaceae) family. Although the small cream or greenish flowers are inconspicuous they are attractive to many small pollinating insects, however, the California coffeberry fruit steals the show. The berries start out bright red and turn purple to almost black when ripe. Various birds eat the berries and seeds. The berries contain seeds that look like coffee beans, hence the common name. This mounding shrub can vary in height depending on the soil it grows on, typically growing 3′-10′. California coffeeberry inhabits in a wide variety of habitat types and is found on various soil types throughout its overall range that encompasses most of California, southwest Oregon, and parts of Baja California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. There are several subspecies of California coffeeberry and some have an affinity to particular soil types. Within the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains California coffeeberry (Frangula californica spp. occidentalis) is most often found on serpentine soils in harsh, rocky and open conditions. It is a tough and useful shrub that does well in the garden environment with good drainage. Various portions of California coffeeberry were used by Native American tribes throughout its range.
Seed Germination Instructions
90 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall to early winter.